Suicide Squad is a Colorful and Noisy Dissapointment
Directed by David Ayer
Written by David Ayer
Based on Characters from DC Comics
Starring: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ike Barinholtz, Cara Delevingne
Running time 123 minutes
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language
After the fall of Superman U.S. Intelligence Officer Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) resurrects her plans for project X. Assemble a team of the highly skilled and powerful villains currently serving time. Without the option to say no Waller recruits Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Killer Crock (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), and her secret weapon, Enchantress (Cara Delevingne). To lead the team, and keep them in line, she hires ex-special forces soldier Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman), and as an added measure, implants explosives in the necks of the reluctant team of heroes. The plan is to send this team into situations where survival is not only uncertain, but also suicidal. There are just two problems with this plan, the first is Joker (Jared Leto), desperate to rescue his Harley he will let nothing stand in his way, and Enchantress is an unpredictable and uncontrollably powerful ancient force with plans of her own.
Suicide Squad is not an abysmal failure as much as it is a staggeringly disappointing entry into a struggling franchise. Hobbled by deficient direction and a script that holds water as effectively as a punctured paper bag, the most charismatic ensemble cast could not produce enough chemistry to swim away from this brick of a script. The action was banal, the plot was nonsensical—even by super-hero standards—and the editing was so piecemeal the final product felt more like a pitch than a complete film. The characters were one-dimensional at best, and sexist at worst, each was poorly motivated even for one-dimensional characters. The film is an absolute mess of bright lights, flashy yet dull action sequences, and unsatisfied and un- necessary sub-plots. The drone of a rapidly shifting playlist, and over-eager direction, drowns out what good is present in Suicide Squad, and the idea that if the camera keeps moving the audience will not notice how much story is missing.
This may be the most frustrating film I have seen in a long time. It is partly because I wanted this film to succeed, I wanted it to be good, and I wanted to have fun. There was no fun to be had, and I walked away unsurprisingly disappointed, and in awe of the fact that this film was handed to David Ayer and never taken away from him.
I also feel like I need to talk about the sexist elephant in the room. The women in this film are treated shamefully for a film made in 2016. Suicide Squad does not pass the Bechdel test, the Mako Mori test, and just barely passes the Sexy Lap test. Objectifying and demeaning language is directed toward every female character with enough frequency warrant my bringing it up here. Because of this factor, I have already recommended to friends that they avoid taking their young teenage children to see this film. I honestly feel like these are antiquated attitudes that should be discouraged, and I fear this film will only help perpetuate these attitudes in a young audience. Yes, I am asking why no one thought of the children. This is a stance I rarely take on films, but I believe this to be a serious problem that we should not even have to confront. I may have felt very different if, for example, Harley Quinn was portrayed as the brilliant—although crazy—person she is, and shot back at the frequent remarks directed toward her, or if her costume were just a little more practical for a combat situation.
Like many, I am a fan of the comic book series, and of these characters. I was excited when I heard this film was being made, and when each trailer came out. I believed that with a good script, the characters would come to life and the gamble to make this film would pay off. My disappointment is almost as substantial as my lack of surprise.